The AAHP’s Portfolio Course


Most students will use their portfolio as a visible record of acquired conceptual, analytical, procedural, and operational skills. This record will, in turn, be shown to admissions officers, teachers or prospective employers. Yet not all portfolios are created equal. Each portfolio has a specific look and serves a specific function. The portfolio belonging to someone interested in architecture will be different from that of someone seeking further training in cartooning. The cartoonist’s portfolio will not look like the one belonging to someone pursuing further study in the fine arts, and so on. Also, each prospective school or viewer may have special requirements that your portfolio must meet.

To build a portfolio, ensure that you know what your prospective school wants to see in it, and by when: If no specifics are indicated, work from the list below. Check off items you have already prepared and may be ready to be inserted into the portfolio. Keep a copy of this list and give a copy to your P3 instructor. Be sure to consult Ana before making final decisions about these previously-made pieces.

A few last yet vital points: WORKING WITHIN YOUR DEADLINES IS CRUCIAL. Be sure to routinely visit your possible employer’s or preferred schools’ websites and be in touch with all admissions policies, calendars, requirements, etc. Be sure to attend classes regularly and attend make-ups for classes missed. If looking for work or schools in the arts trades, try your best to attend National Portfolio Day (Google it for dates, times and sites near you).

To develop your portfolio across time, use the following checklists of what it might contain:

P3 Portfolio Course Objectives

The P3 Portfolio course helps the student (1) diagnose works already prepared for possible use in his or her presentation portfolio; (2) prepare new projects deemed important for his or her portfolio, and, (3) assemble a final presentation portfolio, either electronically, and/or as an actual book; (4) enhance your concentration work with your P3 Portfolio.

All these matters must be addressed during your weekly class. Please note that at the AAHP, our students have had a 100% success rate in gaining admissions to their preferred schools. However, the AAHP cannot be held responsible for failure to enter your chosen schools, gain employment, scholarships etc.

What is the Key Focus of Your Portfolio?

  • Architecture
  • Fine art portfolio
  • Cartooning
  • Scientific; Engineering
  • Fashion design
  • Commercial graphics
  • Design
  • Other
By Medium
  • Graphite (various kinds)
  • Charcoal (various kinds)
  • Pastel (several kinds)
  • Watercolors (transparent and gouache)
  • Inks (several kinds)
  • Oils
  • Acrylics
  • wax color pencils
  • water-soluble pencils
  • markers
  • egg tempera
  • silverpoint
  • clays/other sculptural material
  • Collage
  • Photographic works
  • Other (sample of fabric arts, etc)
By Thematic Content
  • Abstract
  • Action and fashion modeling (by posing the wooden dummies, for example)
  • Architectural
  • Anatomical
  • Commercial design (logo, ad, for example)
  • Cartoon
  • Difficult Surfaces (glass, water, polished metals, clouds, etc)
  • Illustration (scientific, botanical, zoological)
  • Lettering (graffiti, fonts, etc)
  • Mechanical drawing (the inside of a watch, for example)
  • Portrait or self-portrait
  • Still-life
  • Textures
By Format
  • Conventional square or rectangle
  • Tondo
  • Triptych or polyptych
  • Scroll
  • Sculptural
  • Other

Plan to Purchase

Depending on the specific requirements of your prospective college/employer, etc., you may need to purchase any of the following:

  • A classic, hand-held portfolio with transparent sleeves to house the minimum number of projects your school requires. We suggest Itoya brand. Size: approx. 11×17 sleeves
  • Formal stationery for your computer’s printer
  • An artist’s blank journal
  • A digital thumb drive (flash drive)